Mary Baker Eddy and Journalism
This 1925 photo shows workers making printing plates in the stereotype room of The Christian Science Monitor. Image courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor.
By: Sydney Shea
After overcoming illness and personal tragedy and enduring the course of the civil war, Mary Baker Eddy founded The Christian Science Monitor, becoming one of the first women in history to make such a remarkable impact on journalism. Besides being a female journalist in a typically male-dominated profession, Eddy was also 87 years old at the time of The Monitor’s creation, an unheard-of age for any person to begin such an endeavor.
The Monitor was Eddy’s response to rampant yellow journalism that sought to seek out more positive and truthful aspects of stories instead of tastelessly criticizing people, which was the highlight of tabloids during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its objective, she said, was to “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.”
This publication still circulates widely today as a weekly magazine that attempts to seek out fair, well-balanced articles under Eddy’s guidelines. It has acquired a number of Pulitzer prizes and international recognition as a publication that seeks to enlighten its audience instead of giving readers false, exaggerated stories.
At Boston University, I began reporting for our independent student newspaper, The Daily Free Press, when I was a freshman, and moved my way up to top managing editor over five semesters. Last fall, I was in a position where I spent about 11 hours, four nights per week in our Kenmore Square office editing stories, which is a tedious and temperamental task. However, our goal was always to provide accurate, truthful articles to our BU community that investigated both sides of the story, which sometimes yielded positive feedback, and sometimes negative. However, Eddy’s goal of practicing journalism for the advancement of humanity instead of its regression stood as an ethical standard throughout my semesters. Yes, she was a female journalist and, yes, she was quite older when she founded The Monitor, but to me, Eddy is extraordinary because she was optimistic in a time of vain yellow journalism and helped to make the field what it is today.